In today’s society, with just a click of a mouse or a push of a button we are reminded of the unspeakable acts of violence and theft making headlines daily, and are often left to wonder… Why? Why did they pick that home? Why does this happen to good people? Could my home be next?
Attempting to understand why bad people do bad things will drive the most sane person crazy. The better question to ask is why did they choose that house? Chances are, either you or someone you know has been a victim of theft. In fact, statistics show that a home burglary is committed every 13 seconds across the United States, effecting more than 2 million households a year. With these numbers on the rise, it’s now more important than ever to identify what criminals look for when shopping for their next victim.
In order to answer these questions, we must first think like a criminal. Theft is almost always a crime of opportunity and can usually be deterred with just a little preparation. It is important to point out that there are unique cases where the theft is pre-planned, but this is usually due to prior knowledge of specific valuables or extended absences away from the home.
Posting vacation pictures on social media has led to multiple home burglaries that could have been avoided; when you travel, do yourself a favor and post your pictures after you return. If you are going to be traveling, try to make it look as if the house is occupied – stop your mail and newspaper service or have it collected, don’t leave trash bins on the curb for long periods, have a vehicle parked in the drive, do not have all your curtains closed during the day, install automatic dusk-to-dawn or timed lighting around the exterior of your house, and have several lights on variable timers throughout the house that come on in the evening.
Now let’s look at your home. Starting from your driveway, what do you notice first about your house? Are the blinds open? Are there large bushes or trees that would limit your neighbors’ view of an intruder? Can you see the new flat screen television you just purchased hanging on the wall in your living room? Is your home lacking sufficient lighting creating hiding places at night? If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you are placing yourself at unneeded risk of a break-in. Remember, if you are going to advertise…you should expect visitors.
As you approach your front door, look for newspapers stacked up or mail overflowing from the mailbox. If you have glass panels or a window near your front door, see what things are visible from the outside and if the window were to be broken, would it be possible to reach inside and unlock the door? Are there any open doors or windows visible? If you have a second story, would it be easy to climb to, or are there objects in your yard, such as ladders, that could be used to gain access?
Does your porch light effectively illuminate the walkway to your door? It is recommended that you have brighter exterior lighting than interior to reduce the effects of backlighting during evening hours (back-lighting is caused when interior lights are brighter than exterior lights making it easier to see into the home at night and making it harder for the occupants to see what’s outside).
With that said, let’s talk about residential alarms. Many homeowners struggle with the decision of installing these effective systems due to their potentially hefty price tag. In reality, these systems have become very affordable and have been shown to be an excellent deterrent when used in conjunction with properly posted alarm signs and stickers around the property. In fact, according to FBI statistics, houses with alarm systems are 300% less likely to be victimized. With today’s advanced technology, you can also install many useful features, such as programming interior lighting, remotely locking your doors and ensuring all windows are closed from anywhere in the world. Remember, these systems are designed to act as an early warning device, alerting law enforcement at the first sign of intrusion rather than waiting until it’s too late; we recommend your alarm be installed and monitored by a professional company in order to receive the maximum benefits.
There are many more steps a homeowner can take to further reduce their risk of becoming a victim. We at MBIntel.net encourage you to continually evaluate your situation and seek guidance from our helpful program. For more safety and security information, visit us at MBIntel.net